Thursday, June 12, 2014

Der Dutchman



DerDutchman_001
- Photograph by: Ronny Salerno

The abandoned remains of the Der Dutchman restaurant in Waynesville, OH.




DerDutchman_002
- Photograph by: Cameron Knight

Last summer Cameron and I were coming back from the gun range in Waynesville when he pointed out this location. Even with my shoulder aching form the kickback of his World War 2 era, bolt action Soviet rifle, we stopped to look around for a minute. (My images were shot digitally with a Canon 60D, Cameron's on film with an Olympus XA)

DerDutchman_003
 - Photograph by: Ronny Salerno

An empty fountain, boarded up windows and weeds cracking through the brick paths - the only sound was coming from the occasional car on Rt. 42 and the water of the Little Miami River rushing behind the building.

DerDutchman_004
 - Photograph by: Ronny Salerno

Just under an hour north of Cincinnati, the abandoned area was once home to "Der Dutchman," an iconic Waynesville restaurant. The complex also once featured an Amish themed gift and furniture store as well as a bakery.

DerDutchman_005
- Photograph by: Cameron Knight

In October 2010, a kitchen fire began tearing through the structure during a breakfast rush. According to the Dayton Daily News, the fire is believed to have started from a malfunctioning chicken roaster. Everyone inside escaped safely, but the building was left with significant damage.

DerDutchman_006
- Photograph by: Ronny Salerno
In 1973, local couple Bill and Helen Lemey had opened up "1776," the original restaurant that occupied the property. In the late 80's, "1776" was purchased and renamed as "Der Dutchler." The complex expanded into a larger restaurant building.

DerDutchman_007
- Photograph by: Ronny Salerno

The restaurant and adjacent attractions were a signature draw of Waynesville even through 1999 when the property was purchased by Dutchman Hospitality Group. Der Dutchman enjoyed positive reviews on dining review sites like Yelp, where comments like this could be found:

"Always busy. There's a little gift shop, bakery, and Amish foods shop.

The restaurant is great. The menu is on the placemat. Order from there or get the buffet. Nice salad bar with all the usual fare. There are many prepared salads plus a very yummy Amish dessert.

The food bar has Amish noodles, veggies,  and gravies. The meats include turkey, roast beef, fried catfish (Fridays) and my favorite -fried or broasted chicken.

Service is good. Homemade desserts are yummy.

If you get there during the main dining times, you may take a complimentary ride on an Amish horse carriage. "Dutch" is always happy to give you a ride around the parking lot.
(footnote: they are closed on Sundays.)"



DerDutchman_008
- Photograph by: Cameron Knight

Following the fire in October, Dutchman Hospitality Group announced that they would not be reopening the restaurant and planned to close their additional businesses on the site such as their bakery, furniture and gift shops. According to the Dayton Daily News, the damage was estimated at $1.5 Million.

DerDutchman_009
- Photograph by: Ronny Salerno

Three years later and the site still looks pleasant. The architecture is nice, the lawn is still mostly groomed and gazebos dot the landscape along the river. If you step around back though, you can see where the end began:

DerDutchman_010
- Photograph by: Ronny Salerno


DerDutchman_011
- Photograph by: Ronny Salerno

Once one of the most iconic restaurants in Warren County, there doesn't seem to be any plans to reopen or renovate the site that sits there like a scene from an Amish apocalypse.

DerDutchman_012
- Photograph by: Cameron Knight

16 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. It's been torn down. I'm not sure when it happened, but when we passed through Waynesville a couple of weeks ago it was just an empty field.

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    1. Thanks for the info, another commenter is saying it's still there though. Maybe it is?

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    2. No, still remains and a sad reminder of what is happening to Waynesville

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  3. Thanks for sharing! My family and I visited this place frequently when my sister was in college and then when I went to college. It was such a nice establishment. The gift shop always had a great Christmas selection.

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    1. Thanks for reading! Seems like it was a decent place.

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  4. Nah its not torn down i skate there everyday almost.... you prolly saw the field at the intersection of 42 and 73

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    1. Thanks for the update and for checking out the article.

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    2. agreed, it's still there I live 3 miles away pass it fairly often. I miss eating there. There's not many choices in the immediate area.

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  5. You mom and I ate here. Great restaurant!

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    1. Did Mom let you get soft drinks or only water?

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  6. all of us that worked there really miss that place, it was a great place to work and we all felt like family to one another

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing, I hope you keep in touch with your extended family!

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  7. I live in Waynesville and was lucky enough to grow up swimming in the pool on that site then later work at the original Der Dutchler. Many of us from town have had ideas of what should happen to the entire site but without finacial backing all we can do is watch is deterorate slowly and painfully.

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  8. It was the only place that could handle my ex-wife's ridiculously huge family (5 married siblings, about 16 kids, grandparents, etc.) Private rooms and passing the big, family-style bowls! Not a bad memory from the "Ex" file! Great pics!

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  9. Dayton Daily News reports that a demolition permit was issued 8/7/2015 for the property.

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